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TRCH David Suchet

Left Brian: 2011/12 Season Preview

5 August 11 words: Rich Crouch
illustrations: Adam Poole

Forest failed to get out of the playoffs. Again. Old manager dumped, new manager promises better. Again. Initial foot-dragging over new signings. Again. Can Forest break the cycle this season?

If your team’s performance last year was a shop in town, which one would it be?
The entire Broadmarsh Centre. Loads of talk year after year about upgrading and expanding to get into the upper echelons, but just when you think they’re going to sign up John Lewis or M&S, they end up unveiling three more Poundlands.

What was the absolute highpoint of last season?
The period bookended by the Derby victories. It felt like we were walking on air - the scramble to get the DVD of the 5-2 victory, then the anguish of a tight 1-0 at theirs. Beating Leicester 3-2 was also great; we seemed to properly turn around our slide.

And the lowpoint?
Not the playoffs; I’d say a mixture of losing our home record to Hull, and losing away at Scunthorpe and Sheff Utd. Terrible times, really. The playoffs were sad, but ultimately it’s got to the point where Forest fans see them as two friendlies at the end of the season that do nothing but cost extra cash and build false hopes.

Last year’s star player…
I’ve been saying it for years, and finally people agree with me – that Chambo (Luke Chambers, for the uninitiated) is too good for this league. He’s been a tower at the back, a goalscoring machine at the front, and one of the few players who seems to care about the team as much as the fans. He loves to win and it pains him to lose. He’s a ‘body on the line’ defender, but has a bit of class about him. A motivator, a winner and a future captain.

Last year’s donkey…
Unfortunately, this accolade has to go to Robert Earnshaw. He still provided some moments of class, but they were few and far between. Still, he scored against Derby - in both games - and Leicester, so at least there’s some half-decent memories of him now that he’s buggered off to Cardiff. He will, inevitably, score against us this season.

If your manager ran a takeaway in town, what would it be like?
If it was Billy Davies, it’d probably be a new takeaway shop that didn’t have a menu but a list of foodstuffs he recommends and advises you buy - an ‘Advise and Recommenu’, if you will. If Steve McClaren were to open a takeaway it would probably be a lukewarmly-received Dutch coffee shop; people would criticise it whilst ignoring the handful of Michelin Stars the place had won.

Apart from your manager, who else is new at the club this season?
The summer has gone from bad to great. We brough Andy Reid home, and have also brought in Jonathan Greening and George Boateng. We’re also close, apparently, to signing Wayne Routledge and some highly rated Dutch players. We still need a left back though.

And who’s been lobbed?
We’ve lost a lot of bit-part players such as McKenna and Adebola to Hull, Bennett to Sheff Wed, Wilson to Celtic, Tyson to Derby and Nialle Rodney to Bradford. It’s a shame he didn’t go to Hull (and back) to link up with Adebola again, as having Dele and Rodney upfront was proper cushty. Loanees Kris Boyd and Paul Konchesky aren’t coming permanently, especially as Konch has signed for Sven’s expensive Leicester revolution. Let’s hope the Foxes remember to pay their bills this time...

Any other pre-season goings-on worth noting?
There was a trip to Portugal to play Spurs, and a couple of high-profile friendlies (PSV Eindhoven at home, Stuttgart away). Stevie Mac is bringing us some good football so far - let’s just hope he brings us some good footballers too.

What are your kits like this season?
Delightful. The home kit is cut from a new material, and looks more like a polo shirt. The socks are hooped too, which is lovely. Not so keen on the away top, which is black and has green shoulders, though I do like the obvious Clough reference.

What do you dislike most about your club?
The procrastination with transfers. It seems other clubs are able to do their business much quicker than us. It’s also a touch difficult to get excited about our chances when we have had our hopes dashed so many times. The club just seems to fall at the last hurdle time and again, and it’s frustrating not to see the effort being put in. What I really despise about the club is that they seem to have decided not to sell steak and kidney pies any more. The choices are purely chicken balti or meat and potato. ‘Meat’? Sorry, I need more description than that in my food. Bring back steak and kidney pies; we had ‘em when we were in the  Premiership, and we had chicken balti in League One. Coincidence? I think not.

How bothered are you about the League Cup derby?
Well, it’s hardly Derby, but it will be nice to beat County in a competitive game. They’re the slightly annoying little brother who always wants to beat you on FIFA and pretends that he’s the first kid in the world to ever get in to Rock City on a Thursday night at fifteen when we’ve all done that. For years you’ve bought him decent Christmas presents and he’s spat in your tea - but he’s your little brother so you can’t properly hate him. He properly hates you, though.

Call your shot: what will Forest do in 2011-12?
We need to win the league. Sacking Davies and bringing in Stevie Mac means we must improve on what Billy did here. Worst case scenario for us would be relegation. Mid-table obscurity would be rubbish, but having been in a worse position I can’t see it being too horrible to not have anything to play for at the end of the season.

And if you could send a personal message of advice to your club’s manager in haiku form, what would it be?
Welcome to Forest
Please bring us promotion, Steve
And please call us ‘duck’


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